Sunday, October 23, 2016

Micronesian Blues

The book Micronesian Blues is supposed to be made into a show for Cinemax. Given the articles below, it has nothing to do with Governor of Guam Eddie Calvo's recent "deportation" of criminals from the FSM.

I wonder what a show titled Chamorro Blues would focus on or look like? Would it focus on the drama in the Catholic church? I halacha na yinaoyao gi halom i gima'yu'os Katoliko? Or perhaps it would focus on the drama between Chamorro dance groups? Hekkua' ti hu tungo'

I wonder, even more so, what a show like Guamanian Blues would be? Båsta, mungga yu' tumungo'.

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Cop's memoir 'Micronesian Blues' to be adapted into Cinemax show
by Amanda Pampuro
Guam Daily Post
10/23/16

“It was slam down and flaps up, braking all the way. We landed so hard the oxygen masks fell down and several of the overhead storage compartments popped open. Babies squalled, while most of the adults just sat there in stunned silence, staring numbly at the carry-on baggage that had tumbled down into the aisle.”

– Excerpt from “Micronesian Blues”

It was the late 1970s when an LA cop heard about an opportunity to train new officers in the Pacific, and the idea of palm tree-lined beaches sounded like paradise. But between the overflowing toilets on the island hopper, the suffocating heat, and the first of many brushes with death, Brian Vila soon realized he’d signed up for more than he’d bargained for.

So begins “Micronesian Blues,” Vila’s memoir co-authored with Cynthia Morris. In August, Shifting Gears Productions announced it will adapt the book into a series for Cinemax. In addition to bringing on Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy”), the series will be written by best-selling author Jonathan Tropper (“This is Where I Leave You”) and directed by Emmy-winner Greg Yaitanes (“House,” “Ray Donovan”).

While the series remains in development, Vila and Morris remain connected to the projects as consultants.

“Of course, characters will be added, many of the people in the book will be turned into composite characters, and stories that never took place will be included along with the true stories from the book,” Morris told the Sunday Post. “The series won’t be a documentary – it will be a highly fictionalized action adventure series based on the book.”

Currently available only as an eBook, “Micronesian Blues” was first released by Paladin Press in 2009. Vila and Morris began writing the book in 1994.

“Bryan and I would walk along the beach in Orange County, Calif., where we lived at the time, and I would interview him about his stories with a tape recorder running,” Morris recalled. “It took more than two years – I have an enormous box full of interview tapes! Bryan had an amazing tale to tell, and I couldn’t wait to write it with him, but our academic writing projects kept getting in the way.”
“In the meantime, society was becoming increasingly global – and cross-cultural issues were becoming more important all the time,” Vila added. “We’d read story after story in books and newspapers that made it clear that people were still struggling with the same sorts of issues I had when I first went to Micronesia back in 1978.”

Steeped with lessons in multiculturalism, the action-adventure saga unfolds across Saipan, Chuuk, Pohnpei, Palau, Yap, and Washington, D.C., during a historic period of political development for the Federated States of Micronesia as it formed its constitutional government in 1979 and entered into the Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1984.

“What we were trying to do back then was help the Micronesians find their own way toward progress,” Vila recalled. “I was there to teach them how things were done in other parts of the world, but that was only half of the equation. The other half was for them to decide which of their traditional laws/ways they wanted to keep, and how to adapt them to modern life and integrate them into the codes of law that would govern their newly formed nations. You can’t do this unless you get to know people, join in with their culture, and try to understand it and see things from their perspective.”
The authors hoped their book would serve as a bridge between people from different walks of life.
“The Micronesians and I learned from each other all the time, as I tried to help them move in the direction they wanted to go, instead of trying to impose stateside ways of doing things on them,” Vila said.

While “not exactly a history book or a civics book,” wrote Otis Aisek in a review for the Fourth Branch, “’[Micronesian Blues’] does however, offer an important outlook on what it’s like for a foreigner to settle effectively into a new culture and environment.”

Journalist and Marshall Islands Journal editor in chief Giff Johnson described the book as “filled with delightful vignettes … worth reading for anyone who wants an unexpurgated view of the islands in a very interesting period of their political development."

Bryan Villa has not returned to Micronesia since the first Micronesian-run Micronesian Police Academy graduation was held in Palau nearly three decades ago. Having recently retired however, he hopes to make the trip with Morris soon.

“I’m eager to visit old friends, and to see what’s changed – and what’s stayed the same – since I was last there,” he said.

While the television series remains under negotiation and no one has yet to disclose whether or not it will be filmed on location, Vila and Morris are excited to watch their adventure continue to unfold.
“We expect the ‘Micronesian Blues’ TV series to be funny and entertaining, full of action and adventure – the kind of show that will be appealing even to people who have never heard of Micronesia before,” Vila said. “As an added perk, we think the series itself will help to build bridges between cultures, because it will introduce more people to this beautiful and culturally diverse part of the world.”

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"Micronesian Blues: Cinemax series order from Banshee EPs and Patrick Dempsey
by Cindy Mclenan
Tv Series Finale
August 2, 2016

Deadline reports Cinemax has ordered the Micronesian Blues TV show from Banshee‘s Jonathan Tropper and Greg Yaitanes, along with Patrick Dempsey, who exited ABC‘s Grey’s Anatomy after 11 seasons. Banshee, which Tropper co-created with David Schickler, recently ended after four seasons on the premium cable channel.

Tropper is writing the Micronesian Blues “crime drama thriller,” which will be directed by Yaitanes. They are executive producing with Dempsey and his producing partner and manager, Joannie Burstein. Justin Franklin is co-producing. The Micronesian Blues TV series is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Bryan Vila and Cynthia Morris (pictured above).
Here is how Amazon describes the book:

His plane nearly crashed, the cops he’d been hired to train almost killed him, and he ingested a substance that bore a close resemblance to elephant snot—all during his first two days on the job…
Micronesian Blues tells the true story of former L.A. street cop Bryan Vila’s hilarious road to cross-cultural enlightenment as a police chief in the far Pacific islands of Micronesia.
Through lively narrative laced with wry humor, it chronicles his adventures and misadventures on Saipan, Ponape (now Pohnpei), Truk (now Chuuk), Palau, Yap, Kosrae, and Kwajalein.
Trial and error was the name of the game in this dubious paradise, where Bryan had to learn the rules—or make them up—as he went. Yet he embraced island life, succeeded in his new role, and ultimately found himself profoundly changed by his experiences in Micronesia and the lessons he learned there.

Here is more on Cinemax’s Micronesian Blues TV show, from Deadline:

Micronesian Blues, written by Tropper and to be directed by Yaitanes, is based on the true story of Los Angeles cop Bryan Vila, a former Marine who had served in Vietnam, who took a job training local police in Micronesia in the early 1990s, expecting a paid vacation. The series tells the story of a burned out LA cop who accepts a teaching job in Micronesia, only to find himself caught up in a bloody war between tribal gangsters, lawless mercenaries, and crooked CIA agents.

Tropper and Yaitanes will executive produce alongside Dempsey and his producing partner/manager Joannie Burstein through the actor’s Shifting Gears Productions. The company’s Justin Franklin will co-produce.

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Cinemax: 'Micronesian Blues' drama from Banshee EPs and Patrick Dempsey
by Nellie Andreeva
Deadline.com
August 1, 2016

Micronesian Blues, written by Tropper and to be directed by Yaitanes, is based on the true story of Los Angeles cop Bryan Vila, a former Marine who had served in Vietnam, who took a job training local police in Micronesia in the early 1990s, expecting a paid vacation. The series tells the story of a burned out LA cop who accepts a teaching job in Micronesia, only to find himself caught up in a bloody war between tribal gangsters, lawless mercenaries, and crooked CIA agents.

Tropper and Yaitanes will executive produce alongside Dempsey and his producing partner/manager Joannie Burstein through the actor’s. Shifting Gears Productions. The company’s Justin Franklin will co-produce.

Banshee, which Tropper created alongside David Schickler, with Yaitanes directing the pilot, was a breakout for Cinemax. It recently wrapped its run after four seasons.

Yaitanes also serves as director/executive producer on the upcoming Cinemax series Quarry and has true-life crime drama Manifesto in development at Discovery. Tropper also wrote the 2014 Shawn Levy movie This Is Where I Leave You, adapting from his own novel.

As an actor, original Grey’s Anatomy star Dempsey, who left the ABC drama last year, will next be seen in Bridget Jones’s Baby.

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